Differential roles of inferior frontal and inferior parietal cortex in task switching: Evidence from stimulus-categorization switching and response-modality switching



We used fMRI to investigate both common and differential neural mechanisms underlying two distinct types of switching requirements, namely switching between stimulus categorizations (color vs. form) and switching between response modalities (hand vs. foot responses). Both types of switching induced similar behavioral shift costs. However, at the neural level, switching between stimulus categorizations led to left-hemispheric activations including the inferior frontal gyrus as well as the intraparietal sulcus extending to the superior parietal gyrus and the supramarginal gyrus. In contrast, switching between response modalities was associated mainly with left-hemispheric activation of the intraparietal sulcus and the supramarginal gyrus. A conjunction analysis indicated common activation of the left intraparietal sulcus and the supramarginal gyrus for both types of switching. Together, these results qualify previous claims about a general role of the left prefrontal cortex in task control by suggesting that the left inferior frontal gyrus is specifically involved in switching between stimulus categorizations, whereas parietal cortex is more generally implicated in the selection of action rules. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.